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The Album, a short story by Lee Tabas

On a crisp Sunday in late October, I fished in Valley ForgeNationalHistoricalPark.    In the fall, when it rains, sometimes the biggest trout migrate to spawn.  Battling against the swollen currents allows them to move upstream over rock ledges and shallow areas that they normally could not breach.   The rain came through several days earlier; unfortunately, the fish no longer were on the move. I got skunked.

Many people enjoyed the bright colors and sun in the Park that day.  As I crossed Route 23, the main road through the Park just south of Washington’s headquarters, I noticed a photo album along the side of the road.  I picked it up and began to leaf through the 30 or 40 photos with handwritten captions.  It appeared to celebrate family; some of the photos showed a young man, identified as little Jimmy, a 7 or 8 year old who everyone loved. Then there were a couple of pet photos.  Further on the caption was Pops or Dad, ”a great guy”.

As I leafed further through the book, my eyebrows lifted a bit when I saw the nude photos of a woman, with the caption “great body, luv ya babe” or something similar.   The author was probably a guy, who presented the book to his girlfriend.

I flipped to the front and to the back cover, but no name or contact information could be found.

There is a large rock memorializing the beginning of the Horseshoe Trail which starts in Valley Forge, and heads out 80 miles to join up with the Appalachian Trail in Central Pennsylvania. It seemed like a prominent spot, so I stood the Album up on the rock, and walked to my car. While putting away my gear, I thought about the album, and how it might have gotten where I found it.  It could have been forgotten while the guy and girl were on a picnic or a hike in the park.   Then it struck me that perhaps the guy and girl were driving on Route 23, and she was offended by the album and the pictures, they had a fight, and she tossed it out of the window.

p.s. I drove by there a few days later and the album was no longer on the rock. Either: 1) the happy couple came to reclaim it, or 2) someone else took it, or 3) your answer.

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